STL aka stereolithography aur Standard Triangle Language is a file format native to the 3D CAD software system. It is one of the oldest file formats of 3D printing initially introduced in 1987. After so many years of technology evolution, it is still one of the most demanded formats in the market because of the compatibility. STL file is supported by most of the popular software packages. Every person using a 3D printer must have heard about STL files because of their extensive use ranging from personal to commercial purposes. If you want to understand the process of building up STL 3D models, please scroll down.
Understanding STL 3D models
As mentioned above, STL is also known as standard triangle language because it converts your 3D model into reality with the help of tiny triangles formation by a filament. Multiple layers are structured one by one in tiny triangles to form a complete structure. This format is popular because of its simplicity. Many other advanced file formats are available in the market with better features but they are difficult to understand and utilize. Here is a list of some features making it still the most popular file format in the 3D printing business:-
- The STL files are smaller in size as compared to modern formats like 3DM and 3DS. We can easily send and receive it as an email attachment.
- STL file is universally compatible with all types of 3D printers. Whether your printer is old or new, there will be no issue of compatibility.
- The complex 3D models created in CAD software can be simplified by converting it into STL format.
- Security is another major concern why the STL file format is preferred by professionals. After converting cad file into STL, less sensitive information is shared which reduces the threat of data copy.
Despite so many advantages, this file format also has several flaws. It is obvious because STL is the oldest 3D printing file format that needs a lot of improvements. Now we are going to discuss its cons.
Most frequent problems with STL format
- All 3D models available in STL format are not printable automatically in 3D. Sometimes, your printer and counters with the problem of reading the format. Therefore, you have to repair it again to make printable.
- STL is a simple file format in which the color, textures, inner structure and other detailed properties are not included. You need to assign some instructions manually to get the desired results.
- Slow processing is another major issue with STL files for 3D printing. While crafting a three-dimensional sculpture with the printer, it is possible to miss some solid 3D volumes and correct connectivity information. Not just slow processing but errors may also become apparent with this file format.
- When it comes to modification compatibility, the STL file is more difficult than any other format. Even the simple editing tasks like scaling are very hard to accomplish. However, this is also and advantage to some publishers because their models cannot be copied or modified because of the rigidness.
Stereolithography is currently e the default file format of many 3D printers. Everyone including hobby makers, engineers and 3D printing service providers are using this format because of its simplicity. It is obvious that old file formats will have some flaws but still, it is playing a productive role in the 3D printing industry.